Bloomberg Moves Closer to Running for President
Buoyed by the still unsettled field, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run.
Joe Gandelman, always one of the key voices in moderate, independent politics, sees the possibility of this being a good thing.
The American political process — if you include the way campaigns are run, negative campaigning, the tone of talk radio and some aspects of the blogosphere — may have disgusted enough people so that a candidate who doesn’t have the same predictable reactions, whose utterances don’t elicited the all-knowing smug wink and nod from those TV analyst talking heads and isn’t out of a politico cookie-cutter could have REAL appeal.
I'm afraid I'll have to disagree. While I admire Bloomberg's stated goals of eliminating partisan gridlock and getting the American government back on track to do real work, I also don't see him as a truly independent voice. There are a number of problems with a potential Bloomberg candidacy, but I'll only touch on a few.
First of all, a truly independent candidate would draw somewhat equally from both parties as well as the moderate, independent voter base. Mayor Bloomberg does not fill the bill on this count. The man is a Democrat, tried and true. He was a member of the party for most of his life, and his "conversion" to the GOP in the 2000 New York City mayoral race was nothing more than a blatant, calculated move to take advantage of a Democratic primary field that was beating each other to death. His long held stances favoring stringent gun control, endorsing gay marriage, raising taxes, and moves to ban smoking and trans fats put him firmly in a position where only the more hard core liberal voters would flock to him.
Plus, the Mayor has not yet been fully vetted on the national stage, and will face most of the same problems that his home town fellow Rudy Giuliani is facing. Bloomberg has also been steeping in New York City politics for most of his life, and nobody comes out of that without some serious stains. As the skeletons begin to come out of his closet, the shine will soon fade from his appeal.
Currently, poll after poll pitting the various candidates from each party against each other in hypothetical general election match-ups show the Democrats winning in '08 for nearly every combination. Republicans would cheer the entrance of Bloomberg into the race, as he would likely draw enough votes in the general away from the Democratic nominee to tip the White House back to the GOP next November. His ability to draw votes away from the Republicans would be virtually nill.
Checking in with one of the usual suspects on the Starboard wing, I found that the response was pretty much as I predicted. Wizbang describes Bloomberg as one of the "feckless, idle rich" and goes on with much less flattering prose.
The man is enamored of himself, consumed by egotism which led him to leave his lifetime Democratic registration to run for Mayor as a Republican ONLY because he could never have won the Democratic nomination. Earlier this year, he conveniently switched again, to an independent registration.
Bloomberg stands for Bloomberg. Those who enjoy listening to the incessant droning of whiny assholes will flock to his banner - which, I suppose, means he might carry the District of Columbia.
Looking at the Left side of the Aisle, the Liberal Journal seems to have arrived at the same conclusion I did.
Personally, he is a rich northeasterner with a Boston accent. All of this means he will siphon votes primarily away from Democrats or independents who lean Democratic. His stance on guns and gay marriage alone will kill any real support from Republicans. So we're faced with a big fat spoiler here, and I don't think a conservative running mate like Chuck Hagel would change that.
This would be a gift to the GOP beyond their wildest holiday wishes. Bloomberg is no Ross Perot. He won't win and he won't have the same kind of impact on the vote count that Perot did. He'll just be a Nader on steroids and warp the electoral count. Here's to hoping that he chooses to use his power and influence to push the dialogue toward a more non-partisan stance without actually throwing his hat in the ring to disrupt election '08.